6 Principles for Powerful Presenting

6 Principles for Powerful Presenting

by Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE

It isn’t enough to have a message. It must be YOUR message. What is it about your topic that is important to you? That is where your uniqueness lies. Don’t give books reports. Bring your unique perspective to the audience. When you discover your message, you also release your passion.

The best advice on speaking I ever got was over 20 years ago from David Johnson, then an Ohio legislator. He told me that every audience wants to be entertained. I have found that education is usually best delivered on the wings of entertainment.

At the beginning of every speech, your primary challenge is to break preoccupation. Each audience member is preoccupied with their own thoughts and concerns. A powerful, attention-grabbing beginning is critical.

People don’t remember your points, they remember your illustrations. If they can remember the story, then they will be able to remember the point or lesson that the story teaches. Stories are like mental coat-pegs: a place for listeners to hang ideas.

Demosthenes, when asked about the first, second, and third desiderata of rhetoric, replied, “Action, action, action.” End with a call to action. Make it clear what you would like your audience to do as a result of your presentation (also check out these presentation tips for business speakers). Be clear on what they should do, not just what they should think.

The primary reason why speakers fail is lack of preparation. Practice may not make perfect, but it does make one better. Enough practice makes one great. Speaking, like any other worthwhile endeavor, requires much practice and preparation.


Copyright 2005 by Mark Sanborn. Reprinted with permission. Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE is a professional speaker published in the areas of leadership, change management, customer service and teamwork. He works with business organizations who want to reach the next level of success and individuals who want to perform at their best. You can email him at Mark@MarkSanborn.com, phone him at (800) 650-3343 or visit his Web site at http://www.marksanborn.com.